Archive for June, 2002
I’m troubled by what I read in today’s Washington Post which you can read here. Apparently the Bush Administration thinks it can arbitrarily suspend The Constitution, and in particular the Sixth Amendment, which requires that “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
I’m also bothered by the argument that in these cases concerning people accussed of having links to terror organizations are not subject to civilian authority. Last I checked, the military was subject to civilian authority, which is why it is an elected civilian, The President of the United States, who is designated as the Commander-in-Chief of the military, and why generals and admirals answer to that office, and not to their own authority.
But then again, I have seen nothing to indicate that the country is in fact, at war. Congress has not declared as such, though President Bush insists we are. I’m rather inclinded to agree, but the authority to declare a formal state of war rests solely with Congress. Don’t believe me? Look it up.
You don’t have to tell me about the nature of the national emergency we find ourselves in. What most people in America saw transpire on television on Sept. 11, 2001, I saw with my own eyes. I’ve shocked old friends with my hawkish opinions about the course of the war, and when it comes to captured members of enemy forces, I have precious little sympathy as to their fate. But we have rules that we live by that were set down in a building on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. And we can’t just throw them away because they’re getting in the way.
Word comes from Slashdot that that terrible, horrible excuse for a software firm Gator is on the business end of a lawsuit filed by several publishing companies that describes Gator’s advertising disease-ware as “a parasite that free rides on the hard work and investment” of the publishers” according to this Washington Post story.
I for one won’t be sad to see Gator fade into the historical footnote it deserves to be. I once was fooled into installing it and was creeped out by the little eyes that would occasionally pop up in the lower right corner of my screen. Even after deleting all the elements of the Gator software I could find, it wouldn’t let go, and remained somewhere in some secret Windows NT start-up menu where I couldn’t reach, reminding me that it was there every time I started up. I finally deleted everything on the machine and installed Windows 2000. So far I have managed to remain blessedly Gator-free, and intend to stay that way.
It helps to keep things in perspective. On June 14, the Earth apparently came within only 75,000 miles of a catastrophic collision with a peice of space rock the size of a soccer field. The BBC has the details. If 75,000 miles seems like a long way consider this: The Moon is more than three times that far away: 240,000 miles. Had this bit of rock actually hit the planet, the result would have been something like what happened in Siberia in 1908, when an asteroid of similar size flattened 2,000 square miles of forest land. Scarier yet is the fact that astronmers only detected in three days after it had passed us by.